BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK— Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett released the tentative 2016 town of Clifton Park budget on Thursday, October 1.
The general fund budget totals $16,959,054; Clifton Park will continue into next year without a general fund property tax.
The highway fund will total $5,538,530 for a spending plan between the two funds of $22,497,584. The Town will be below the New York State Tax Cap.
The highway tax is set to increase to 23.9 cents per thousand of assessed value, which basically means that for a home valued at $250,000, the highway tax for the year will be $34.70.
“The important thing is to continue to invest in areas that raise the value of the town; infrastructure is always a priority for us, but there are many important investments in a given year to ensure that we are delivering services in an efficient and cost effective measure,” Supervisor Phil Barrett said. “What benefits Clifton Park residents is the very low tax status that we have. Conservative budgeting, extremely low debt levels, and just being very cognizant of maintaining our low-fixed costs is what results in a very low tax status; residents can have confidence that there will not be any wild swings in their tax rates.”
The other thing that residents benefit from are the equalization rates that have been approved by New York State on the school tax side of things. “Clifton Park residents will see a decrease in their school taxes,” Barrett said. “There are large increases for other municipalities within the Shen district, but Clifton Park school taxes will be going down; it’s a function of the equalization rates and how the values are proportioned among the towns.”
The town executes reductions to ensure that fixed costs are maintained whether through attrition or layoff. “The staff reductions have led to improved efficiencies and increased expectations for all team members that serve the residents of Clifton Park,” Barrett said. “A reduction in the full time workforce has also precipitated an increase in responsibilities for all employees that serve our great town. We have reduced our already lean workforce in recent years, but we continually review solutions to further streamline government and execute needed adjustments to our cost structure. It is equally important that we continue to invest in Clifton Park’s employees, who have assumed added responsibility through the reduction in workforce.”
The tentative 2016 budget shows that residents of Clifton Park will be able to able to keep their low tax status, according to Barrett.
There will probably be minor revisions to the budget over the next couple of weeks, according to Barrett. The process will culminate with a public hearing in early November.